Saturday, December 15, 2012

Anyways, Irregardless, Unthaw

These are misuses of the words: Anyway, Regardless, and Thaw

They are generally accepted, and show up in dictionaries so technically they are usable in your vocabulary, but they just sound sloppy. Also, they are considered to be non-standard versions of the original words.

"Anyway" is used either at the end of a phrase to replace "regardless", "in any case", etc., or the middle or start of a sentence to resume a main idea or thread. There is only one, so pluralizing it is unnecessary.

In the word "irregardless" you have two negative elements which would cancel each other out ir- and -less. This changes the technical meaning of the word regardless from "without regard" (regard-less) to "not without regard" or "With regard". The words irregular, irresponsible, irrelevant, irreparable, and irreplaceable use only the one element ir- and have no second negative element so their meanings are appropriately reversed.

To un- anything means to reverse it, do the opposite, or mean the opposite of the word being modified. This is one of the simplest and most common modifications we use in the English language which I suppose is why this one is a pet peeve of mine. I feel like it should be obvious that using un- before a word means the opposite of the word. Freezing something, then unfreezing it, or thawing it is normal. Freezing something and then UNthawing it would mean that you left it in the freezer and did nothing. I know SO many people that say it, and it has been adopted to mean thaw, but it makes no sense why un- in this case should suddenly not have the effect that it does on every other occasion. North America is the only region of the world that uses unthaw to mean thaw. I guess everyone else figured it out already.

anyways  (ˈɛnɪˌweɪz) [Click for IPA pronunciation guide]
— adv
US ), ( Canadian a nonstandard word for anyway



 [ir-i-gahrd-lis]  Show IPA
adverb, Nonstandard.
1910–15; ir-2  (probably after irrespective ) + regardless

irregardless, regardless (see usage note at the current entry).

Irregardless  is considered nonstandard because of the two negative elements ir-  and -less.  It was probably formed on the analogy of such words as irrespective, irrelevant,  and irreparable.  Those who use it,including on occasion educated speakers, may do so from a desire to add emphasis.

Word Origin & History

an erroneous word that, etymologically, means the exact opposite of what it is used to express, attested in non-standard writing from at least 1870s (e.g. "Portsmouth Times," Portsmouth, Ohio, U.S.A., April 11, 1874: "We supported the six successful candidates for Council in the face of a strong opposition. We were led to do so because we believed every man of them would do his whole duty, irregardless of party, and the columns of this paper for one year has [sic] told what is needed."); probably a blend of irrespective and regardless. Perhaps inspired by the double negative used as an emphatic.

unthaw  Pronunciation: /ʌnˈθɔː/
Definition of unthaw
  • 1North American melt or thaw:[with object]:the warm weather helped unthaw the rail lines
  • 2 (as adjective unthawed) still frozen:you can cook prawns from frozen by plunging them, unthawed, into boiling water
Logically, the verb unthaw should mean ‘freeze’, but in North America it means exactly the same as thaw (as inthe warm weather helped unthaw the rail lines); because of the risk of confusion it is not part of standard usage. Unthawed as an adjective always means ‘still frozen’, but it is best avoided because many contexts may be ambiguous, such asuse frozen (unthawed) blueberries


  1. Irregardless, I'm going to continue to unthaw my chicken anyways, just because you posted this. ;o)

    1. Oh you, you just had to go there didn't you. LOL and all in one sentence! I'm reeling!